Fundamental Human Movements Reps and Sets Load Sadly, I think this is the correct order that we should approach weightlifting.
But, please don’t think any of that is going to improve your skill set or your long term ability to do anything from sports to simply aging gracefully. At the HK, we learn what I consider to be the key patterns to human movement: the swing, the goblet squat and the get-up.
The get-up (not the “Turkish sit-up” as I often note) is a one-stop course in the basics of every human movement from rolling and hinging to lunging and locking out. So, the HK covers basic human movements in a way that is unlike any other system or school.
As I often argue, add the push-up and, honestly, you might be “done.” Here are the basics of proper training: Training sessions should put you on the path of progress towards your goals.
I have a simple answer for most people: control your repetitions. In teaching the get-up, or when using this wonderful lift as a tool to discover your body, keep the reps “around” ten.
One of the great insights, among many, that I picked up at the ROC is the idea of doing twenty swings with one kettle bell and ten swings with two kettle bells. After doing literally hundreds of swings a day, I noted that my technique held up fine in that ten and twenty range.
It is the basic teaching of sports: don’t let quantity influence quality. I usually call these the “Punch the Clock” workouts and I think they are the key to staying in the game.
Tim Ferris, ASCII, tells us in his excellent book, The Four Hour Body that there is a minimum effective dose (MED) of everything fitness related. Doing the little “Humane Burpee” with a big kettle bell is a killer workout.
When you look at movement first, then reps, then for whatever reason, the loading makes more sense too. In a one-day course, we learn and do (a lot of “do”) the three core movements of the kettle bell world.
Prepping for the HK is not as complex or deep as the three-day ROC. Showing up “in shape” and ready to learn would be ideal, but I would also recommend include some additional mobility work and perhaps some work on the hinge, squat and some basic rolling to prep for the event.
The time you spend prepping for the event pales in comparison to what you do AFTER the HK. I always send along the following Twenty-Day Program to guide our attendees deeper along the ROC path.
From there, I show the one arm press and introduce the kettle bell clean. I trained for the ROC with clean and press, swings and what I thought were snatches at the time.
Fresh from a new learning experience, there is always a tendency to want to do everything at once. But that approach is tough to do and fraught with long and short term issues.
It is recommended that you do the hip flexor stretch during each warm up and cool down period; it can be done very well with an easy set of goblet squats. 15 Two hand swings 1 Goblet squat Ten reps of high knees “March in Place” (Each time the right foot hits is “one rep”) Recovery breathing (up to two minutes) Do this for a total of 3 rounds.
15 Two hand swings 5 Goblet squats 1 Push-up 10 Reps of high knees “march in place” (Each time the right foot hits is “one rep”) Recovery breathing (up to 2 minutes) For a total of 10 rounds The three movements of the HK Care the core to conditioning, mobility and goal achievement.
Master ROC, Dan John is the author of numerous fitness titles including the best-selling Never Let Go and Easy Strength. An All-American discus thrower, Dan has also competed at the highest levels of Olympic lifting, Highland Games and the Weight Pentathlon, an event in which he holds the American record.
Dan spends his work life blending weekly workshops and lectures with full-time writing, and is also an online religious studies instructor for Columbia College of Missouri. As a Fulbright Scholar, he toured the Middle East exploring the foundations of religious education systems.
GiryaGirl.com reader “Montana Bad boy” asked some great questions about the HK and how to prepare for it: Q: It’s possible that an HK training event will be coming close to my area, I am thinking about attending.
20 How to Submit Your Video Test More resources to upgrade your kettle bell instructor skills Before you go... As an incentive to help athletes and coaches build on and evolve their skill-sets, HK certified graduates may deduct $200.00 from a registration for a future ROC certification workshop, within one year of achieving the HK.
Kettle bell safety 101: ten key items The Swing: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills The Get-Up: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills The Goblet Squat: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills HK program design The three key principles of effective training identified by Russian sports scientists: continuity of the training process, waving the loads, and specialized variety, Ten program design tools for an unlimited variety of effective kettle bell workouts: Rep Ladders Weight Ladders Time Ladders Breathing Ladders Reverse Ladders Drop Sets Super Sets Timed Sets Series Active Recovery Exercises Besides having to pass the requisite plank test at the outset of the workshop, each HK candidate will be evaluated for technical proficiency and teaching skills at the end of the workshop and will then be granted either a pass or fail.
If you fail to maintain proper alignment or you drop to your knees, the test is considered a failure. You must be able to demonstrate safe and effective technique as part of being an HK instructor.
Your course instructor will test you on the following exercises in the latter part of the course to ensure that you can perform what you have been taught during the course. The swing is tested using two hands with an appropriate size kettle bell, for 10 reps or more at your instructors’ discretion.
Their inclusion reinforces the student’s understanding of HK /ROC principles and should be included in any well-rounded kettle bell program. In addition, proper performance of the Hard style Push up is the Entrance Requirement for the ROC Instructor course.
When a workshop is cancelled or postponed, candidates will be notified immediately and will receive a complete refund of all workshop fees or be allowed to transfer at no penalty to the new dates or another course of their choosing without penalty. If cancellation is required, Dragon Door is not responsible for any expenses (travel or lodging) incurred beyond the registration fees.
Unlike a treadmill or elliptical, kettle bells probably aren’t going to become an eyesore in the corner of your bedroom and still provide a few heart-pounding workouts. They’re more versatile than the same old hand weights, though, so you can create an exercise regime that’s tailored to your specific fitness goals.
Buying a kettle bell probably doesn’t seem that difficult, but many factors actually affect how well this equipment fits into your workout routine. Finding the right model means knowing what materials to look for, what type of handles best meet your needs, and the proper weight to give you the best workout.
There’s good reason why they’ve become such a popular workout tool in recent years. When you swing them, you can elevate your heart rate quickly and burn up to 20 calories per minute, which is often more than you’d do in a cardio class at the gym.
The workouts utilize smooth, swinging transitions so your shoulders, elbows, and knees don’t take as much of beating as they would with jump training. Kettle bells can be worked into a variety of exercise forms, too, so you can use them with strength and power training, as well as with traditional cardio workouts such as running.
You can easily stash your kettle bells in a closet or under the bed, and still get the same intense workout you’d get from a five-minute sprint. However, the vinyl coating is prone to cracking and peeling, and the weight of the kettle bells is often inaccurate because the iron beneath may contain holes that are filled with another material.
“One-piece cast kettle bells are more durable than two-piece assemblies, as the juncture between the ball and handle is solid and more resistant to cracking.” When the iron is cast for the kettle bells, a seam is left across the center of the handle’s underside.
Higher end brands will file down the seam to create a smooth, even surface. Inexpensive kettle bells often don’t have this seam removed, which leaves a sharp edge that can cut your skin when you grip the handle.
Some exercises may require placing both of your hands around the handle, so you don’t want the fit to be too tight or uncomfortable. While most kettle bells are made of cast-iron or vinyl-coated cast-iron, their handles are available in several types of finishes, including bare iron, enamel, powder coating, and vinyl.
Bare iron provides a good grip, so you don’t have to worry about the equipment flying out of your hands. Powder coating has an even rougher texture, so this type of finish is a good option if you find that your hands get very sweaty during workouts.
Vinyl handles are best avoided because they don’t offer a good grip and have a tendency to crack and peel. Once you’ve chosen a kettle bell with the material, construction, and handles that you prefer, the most important question to answer is what size to get.
While kettle bells can provide effective aerobic exercise during a workout, they also cause a prolonged anaerobic burn after you’ve completed your routine. A kettle bell workout usually burns approximately 20 calories per minute, which is the equivalent of running at a six-minute mile pace.
For exercise, the Shaolin Monks in China lifted large padlocks that were very similar to modern kettle bells. However, it’s a good idea to have kettle bells in a couple of different weights so you can scale your workout up or down, depending on your goals.
From a weight training perspective, kettle bells can target most of the major muscle groups. Depending on your routine, you can work out your back, shoulders, arms, abs, hips, glutes, obliques, and/or legs.
The frequency of your routine will depend on the intensity of your workout, so it’s a good idea to consult with a trainer or fitness expert for advice. In general, working out every other day is a good average intensity program for beginners.
Meet John Bail, HK certified kettle bell coach John first heard about kettle bells in 2016 while being treated for recurring back pain, when his acupuncturist suggested perusing a copy of Pavel’s SIMPLE AND SINISTER in order to strengthen his back and core.
After some trial and error on his own, he realized he needed professional coaching and sought out Shari Wagner and Iron Clad Fitness, where he has been a member for over three years. John’s consistent training and attention to detail with his technique paid off in February 2019 when he earned his HKCkettlebell certification.
Resembling mini bowling balls with handles, kettle bells are great for building aerobic capacity and strength. Transference of kettle bell training to strength, power and endurance.
Reps and sets will depend on intensity and your fitness level. For most of these moves, we recommend aiming for 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 30 reps with good form.
How to: To do the perfect kettle bell swing, stand up straight with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart. Grab the handle with both hands, keeping palms face down and arms in front of your body.
Maintain a slight bend in your knees and drive your hips back. Then, in a fluid motion, explosively drive your hips forward while swinging the kettle bell, keeping glutes and core engaged.
Remember: The motion should come from your hips, not your arms, as your body returns to standing. Lower the weight back down between your legs and keep this swinging motion going for 12–15 reps.
Next, bend over to grab both kettle bells and pull them toward your stomach, keeping elbows close to body and back straight. Then try this: Start with legs a bit wider than hip width.
Keep this motion going, similar to the classic basketball drill. Stand up straight, holding the kettle bell in front of your chest with both hands, keeping elbows close to body.
How to: Stand with feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart and turn toes out 45 degrees. Keeping core engaged, begin to squat and grip the kettle bell handle with one hand.
Stand up straight while holding the kettle bell in front of your chest with both hands, arms bent and palms facing each other. Pull the kettle bell to your shoulders while knees straighten and elbows rise.
Remember: The force is coming mostly from your hips, plus your arms pulling at the very end. Keep core engaged the whole time, moving the kettle bell back down by the floor.
Sit with legs bent and feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart. Hold the kettle bell with both hands at your chest, then lean back to a 45-degree angle.
Here’s the fun part: Rotate your torso from left to right by twisting at your waist and swinging the kettle bell across your body. How to: Despite its name, this move doesn’t require rocks or rubber bands.
Hold the kettle bell in front of your body, arms extended at chest level. How to: Lie on the floor with your legs straight out (nope, it’s not time for savanna).
Grab a kettle bell in one hand, palm facing in, and press the weight straight up while rotating your wrist so your palm faces your feet. Start in a plank position but with your hands grasping two kettle bell handles.
Grab a kettle bell and start with the basic two-handed swing (see move No. Keep sidestepping’ your way to the right (10–15 steps), then head back the other way, leading with your left foot.
Engage core, tighten glutes, and keep arms extended as your body rises on up, kettle bell and all! Grab each handle in the usual push-up starting position, then lower your body before pushing back up.
How to: Hold the kettle bell in your right hand and angle your feet 45 degrees away from your right arm. Shift your weight onto your right leg and begin bending forward at your waist. Keep right arm extended overhead as your body bends forward and your left arm is pointed toward the floor.
The kettle bell should end in the “rack position,” which means resting on your forearm, tucked close to your body, fist at your chest. Bring the weight back down to the floor and repeat for 10–15 reps.
Then, press the kettle bells up while leaning forward at your waist so the weights are positioned behind your head. Bring them back down to your shoulders and continue pressing for 10–20 reps, depending on the weight you’re using.
How to: Start by cleaning the kettle bell to your shoulder, finishing with palm facing front. Next, bend knees and press the kettle bell overhead while jumping into a split jerk position.
Return to standing while the kettle bell remains overhead, then lower it. Grasp the handle with one hand and explode up onto your toes, pulling the kettle bell until it reaches your chest, with your elbow tucked in.
At the top, lift your right elbow by squeezing your shoulder blades together, with the weight about 6 inches behind your body. Kettle bells are a great way to spice up the usual lifting routine.
As with traditional strength training, two days a week is a great place to start. Don’t hesitate to weave those kettle bells into your standard weightlifting routine, along with dumbbells, body weight exercises, and cardio.
Her success and humility make her an inspiration to coaches worldwide, especially to females trainers and trainees seeking a positive role model. I have been lucky to work with her occasionally, and am very elated to have her visit our facility to welcome new kettle bell instructors into our ranks.
The 3-day course is grueling and often has only a 70% pass rate due to its stringent testing and high standards. Since then, the HK has proven an effective “opportunity to build a superb and rock-solid foundation as a kettle bell professional” (via DragonDoor).
I have had the pleasure and the honor of assisting at two HK events with Master ROC, and my mentor, Brett Jones. I have seen first hand the drastic improvement in technique and teaching skill of the candidates through the high level of instruction and course material at the HK.